Carol Platt Liebau: The President In Iraq

Monday, September 03, 2007

The President In Iraq

Here is the transcript of remarks that President Bush made to the troops earlier today. My favorite line of the day:

Those decisions [about troop levels] will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground — not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media.

The troops liked it, too.

All the politicians who are calling for a US withdrawal from Iraq might take note of where the President was speaking from: Anbar province. Remember Anbar? As of December '06, Time magazine called it "the most dangerous place in Iraq" and it was used by Democrats as one sign that we were losing the war).

Now, as the President noted, it's one of the safest places in the country, thanks to America's fighting men and women.


Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Ms. Liebau, I think the time has come to abandon the claim that we're winning the war in Iraq. The data are coming in, and it's not a pretty picture. There's an interesting compilation of data at Obsidian Wings entitled "A Clarifying Month". American casualties are down by about 20/month. Civilian casualties in Baghdad, where we've concentrated our efforts, are down by about 400/month. Unfortunately, civilian casualties elsewhere in Iraq are up by about the same amount, so the net picture shows no real improvement.

There are some good signs, but there are also some bad signs, and overall I think that the bad signs outnumber the good signs. We can quibble over this balancing judgement, but what is undeniable is that the situation in Iraq today is not a whole lot better than it was a year ago.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Well, what's the deal here? The surge is taking place in Baghdad, not Al Anbar. Gosh a few months ago McCain was strolling through the market and now Bush can't even make it safely to the green zone.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

No sale, Chepe.

You've ignored the key point of Carol's post. Democrats rightfully listed Anbar Province as the most dangerous place in Iraq last year. They short-sightedly used the conditions in Anbar as a reason to surrender to the terrorists there.

Anbar is now safe enough for the President of the United States along with key cabinet members to land there and meet with key Iraqi politicians.

There is no denying those facts and the positive change they represent. The fact that the war is not over does not mean it is lost.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Yes, Anbar province was the most dangerous place in Iraq last year. Now it's not. The danger has merely moved to other places. Why is this an improvement?

8:35 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Why is it not?

1:33 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

It's not an improvement because there's been no net change. We drove al-Qaeda Iraq out of Anbar and they moved elsewhere. When we leave Anbar, how do we know they won't come back?

I don't call it success when you're winning on one front and losing on another.

5:33 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

cn says "I don't call it success when you're winning on one front and losing on another." History shows that wars are fought on many fronts. Not always successful. Bataan was lost, but Midway was saved. St Vith was lost but Bastogne was saved.
Seoul was lost but South Korea was saved.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Well, Chepe, your sources say one thing and our sources say another. Your sources are motivated by anti-Bush sentiment more than anything else so they are suspect. Our sources are from military people there, doing the work and assessing the situation daily. I like my sources better. They speak of progress in a realistic way, while yours speaks of failure based on biased and slanted perspectives. Most recent example is the GAO report. We're going to judge this complex situation on pass/fail. Good idea.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Chepe said,

"We drove al-Qaeda Iraq out of Anbar..."

Good start. You're almost there. Before long you're going to realilze we actually have a chance to defeat the terrorists and help establish a stable, friendly society in Iraq.

And by the way, let's keep looking at the statistics over the next few months and see if this "no net change" nonsense holds water.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

stackja1945 reminds us that every war has its vicissitudes. Of course. But this doesn't mean that the existence of some success somewhere on some front means that we're succeeding. We have to look at the big picture, balancing successes against failures. We're enjoying success in Anbar province. We're also suffering setbacks elsewhere. We have to look at the big picture. I previously referred to this story at Obsidian Wings that gives a good analysis of the big picture.

Mr. Art, you refer to military sources that you trust. The Petraeus Report has not yet been released (and it's being written by the White House, not General Petraeus). Are you referring to the daily reports from the military news service?

You can of course deny any source of information that doesn't suit your political taste. Those of us in the reality-based community prefer to gather as much information as possible, evaluate it, and assemble a composite picture. You might want to have a look at this item from Obsidian Wings on an overall assessment of what's happening in Anbar province. It's not a reassuring picture.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, you write:

And by the way, let's keep looking at the statistics over the next few months and see if this "no net change" nonsense holds water

In my previous post, I offered two links to precisely this data. That data shows that, in fact, this "no net change nonsense" holds a great deal of water. Why don't you examine the data and tell me what you think?

11:03 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

As I said (perhaps you weren't paying attention), let's keep an eye out over the next few months and then re-address this "no net change" nonsense.

2:02 PM  

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